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Startup Story: Introducing New Food Brands to India

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the making of a startup? Or are you brimming with ideas and thinking of building your own startup? In this Startup Story series, our SUSS Entrepreneurship team will share stories of our student entrepreneurs who aspire to solve problems and make an impact on society.

In our first article, we share the journey of The Core Group, one of our startups which has ventured overseas, and who is also part of our Alibaba Cloud – SUSS Entrepreneurship Programme.



Meet the founders of The Core Group (from left to right) Caroline Chong and Dhruv Jugran. 

Founded by Caroline Chong and Dhruv Jugran, The Core Group encountered a problem when attempting to export Singaporean food products to India, which led to where they are now today, working full-time (almost) on a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform called “Talk of The Town” (ToTT).

Upon researching more about the problem, the enterprising individuals decided to address it. With a working prototype to address the problem, The Core Group applied and was accepted into the Alibaba Cloud-SUSS Entrepreneurship Programme.

Through mentorship sessions with our Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR), Bryan Long, the team was steered in the right direction to uncover new opportunities. Our EiR helped to refine their business concept and to pivot the idea. ToTT is thus able to tackle a deeper problem in the market, one that is critical to the export of food manufacturers’ consumer packaged products into India.

Along the way, The Core Group realised that foreign food manufacturers needed a reliable network of importers and distributors in India. Additionally, this network had to meet the varied needs of the manufacturers as different products demanded. Since the founders possessed leads for this network, the idea of a SaaS platform was born.




SaaS platform: Talk of the Town

However, reaching out to entrenched importers and distributors proved to be a daunting challenge. Being flexible, they managed to recruit small and medium sized companies which met their strict criteria and were committed to delivering a good service.

Recently, The Core Group was invited by one of our team, Priscilla Koh, to participate in the TiE ESG India immersion program. The founders stated that the investors whom they met were helpful, by providing valuable insights and suggestions to improve the value proposition of ToTT.

Currently, The Core Group is piloting ToTT with several Singaporean companies to re-enter India. They hope to benefit Indian consumers by bringing them a variety of food options, and also help Singaporean companies to expand their offerings to India.

With a seemingly never-ending list of problems to be solved, startups like The Core Group inspire us to make an impact! Its vision is to be the gateway to India for foreign food brands and expand its business in the next 12 months to acquire 100 brands in the region.

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